News Madagascar promises to protect world's rarest duck on Ramsar wetland


Madagascar Pochard has a rosier future after the country's government pledged to protect the wetland earmarked as its new home, today on the International Day of Biodiversity.

A recent Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) audit of Madagascar's wetlands identified Lake Sofia as one of the only wetlands in the country in a natural enough state to potentially release captive-bred Madagascar Pochards in future. Lake Sofia's designation as a Ramsar Wetland also supports the 10,000 people who live in the catchment, the majority of whom live below the international poverty line and are dependent upon the lake for their resources. Villagers are already working closely with conservationists from WWT, the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, the Aga Khan Foundation and Asity Madagascar (BirdLife International's partner there) to restore natural habitats, manage resources sustainably and improve agricultural practices to increase yields and decrease the use of chemicals.

Madagascar Pochard (Photo: WWT)

Tomos Avent, WWT's Head of Conservation and Development, said: "The commitment to Lake Sofia by the Government of Madagascar is exactly what the pochards and the local villagers need right now. It reassures the villagers that the government supports their ambition to make their living from the wetlands in a sustainable way, which will help wildlife too."

Andrew Terry, Head of Field Programmes, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, said: "Durrell has been committed to supporting the Ramsar process in Madagascar since the country first ratified the convention. It is great to see recognition for Lake Sofia and this provides an important step forward for the efforts to restore the Madagascar Pochard within a healthy wetland landscape."

Lake Sofia (Photo: WWT)

As one of Madagascar's Ramsar Wetlands, the Government of Madagascar recognises the importance of the site and promises to ensure that the ecological character of Lake Sofia is maintained.

Ramsar wetlands are designated under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, one of the world's first and largest environmental treaties. At the centre of the Ramsar philosophy is that wetlands should be used wisely, acknowledging the importance of the habitat for both people and wildlife, and finding a balance between those benefits.

The Government of Madagascar designated four other wetlands on this International Day of Biodiversity, with the support of WWF. They have nominated five wetlands already this year, including the pochards' last refuge, the Bemanevika wetland complex, bringing the total number of Ramsar wetlands in Madagascar to 20, covering two million hectares.

Related articles

News Translocation project hopes to re-establish Ospreys in Poole Harbour News Translocation project hopes to re-establish Ospreys in Poole Harbour
A new initiative aiming to see Osprey nesting again on the south coast has been given the go-ahead, with the first phase being the return of birds to Dorset. read on read on
News Fight continues to save key wetland in Northern Ireland News Fight continues to save key wetland in Northern Ireland
The future of Lough Beg remains in the balance as a local conservationist lodges an appeal against plans to route a section of dual carriageway through the wetland. read on read on
News Wildlife Trusts launch challenge to get people out into nature News Wildlife Trusts launch challenge to get people out into nature
A new initiative from The Wildlife Trusts, called the 30 Days Wild challenge, aims to help people enjoy nature every day. read on read on
News Conservationists offer olive branch to shooters over hunting licensing News Conservationists offer olive branch to shooters over hunting licensing
Major wildlife protection organisations are publicly calling for a progressive partnership with the shooting industry to develop a licensing scheme for gamebird hunting in Scotland. read on read on
News Celebrate Birdwatch's 300th issue – on sale 25 May! News Celebrate Birdwatch's 300th issue – on sale 25 May!
Join in the celebrations as your favourite birding magazine passes the major milestone of its 300th edition. read on read on

The information in this article was believed correct at the time of writing. BirdGuides accepts no responsibility for errors, or for any consequences of acting on information in the article. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily shared by BirdGuides Ltd.

hide section Reader comments (0)

No comments so far.

Back to top Back to top

Latest edition Latest edition
Search articles Search articles
All articles All articles
Popular articles Popular articles
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Terms of Sale | Cookie Policy | About us | Advertise | Contact us
BirdGuides, Warners Group Publications PLC, The Chocolate Factory, 5 Clarendon Road, London N22 6XJ
© 2017 BirdGuides and Warners Group Publications plc. All Rights Reserved. Company Registered in England no. 2572212 | VAT registration No. GB 638 3492 15
Sales: or tel. 0800 919391 · International Sales: +44 (0)1778 391180 · Office: or tel. 020 8826 0934

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites